SKY BLUES supporters can see new hope in their bid to bring the club back to Coventry on the eve of the 2014/15 season after the Football League confirmed they have agreed a fee to pay stadium owners Arena Coventry Limited (ACL).
‘One down one to go’ was the clear statement from the Sky Blue Trust who expressed their relief following confirmation from the FL that the League One club will pay ACL the sum of £471,192 towards during administration costs last year.
The club’s chief executive, Tim Fisher, has welcomed the decision and has said again that he wants to return to negotiations over a return to the venue.
He said: “We know that ACL saw the payment of this money as a barrier to agreeing terms to get the club back to Coventry.
“Our job is to get the club back to Coventry, which is something every single supporter wants to see, whilst ensuring the financial stability of the club.
“A key element is for us to agree terms that are driven by Financial Fair Play, so that Steven Pressley can invest match day revenues in talent on the pitch.”
The FL have come under heavy pressure from fans for the way they have handled the process and allowed the club to play ‘home’ matches in Northampton.
But Jan Mokrzycki, from the Trust, said he is pleased that the matter has been resolved and is willing ACL to agree that any matter over the sum should not be a barrier to talks with the club.
He said: “We call on Sisu boss Joy Seppala to make it clear that they will not be throwing more good money after bad by continuing this fruitless and futile process by appealing direct to the Court of Appeal.
“ACL have justifiably stated that they will not negotiate with someone who is continuing to take legal action against them, so stop the legal proceedings and get talks started for the good of all Sky Blue supporters, the club and the city of Coventry itself.
“We need the Sky Blues back at the Ricoh before it’s too late – we need ACL to accept that the Football League decision is not a reason not to start talks and we need SISU to cease their pointless legal actions so as to allow negotiations to begin.
“Supporters have been continually let down during this long running dispute – this is an opportunity to act positively – don’t let us down again.”
The club had sought a reduction on the £590,000 fee by claiming they had already paid ACL £300,000 under a separate guarantee and a number of additional, unforeseen costs have been incurred during the liquidation of the ‘OldCo’ company.
And the FL board agreed that a reasonable reduction of £81,643 should be allowed at a meeting on Thursday in London as a result of the additional costs incurred. The sum of £471,192 must be paid by August 14.
FL chief executive, Shaun Harvey, added: “This has been a complex and unwelcome disagreement within a wider, more significant dispute.
“By concluding this matter, we can now allow all parties to concentrate on the more important issue of getting Coventry City playing its matches back in Coventry at the earliest opportunity.”